Leh in Union Territory Ladakh is the only place where one can see double hump camels in India. This species of camel known as Bactrian Camel is the only living remnant of India’s connection with the famous silk route and Ladakh as the link of this ancient trade route.
The Animal Husbandry Department of Ladakh has stepped up to preserve it from the threat of extinction in the country.
Double Hump Camel was a heavy load carrier of the Silk Route Traders. However, with the closure of the route in the 1950s and introduction of modern transport facilities, this tough camel once became a stray animal and remained abandoned by its owners. As they lost attention, the population fell to mere 64 in 2003 and 2004. With the intervention of the Animal Husbandry Department, it is now a treasure for breeders as it is one of the main tourist attractions for camel safari on Sand Dunes of Nubra.
The Conservation efforts by the Animal Husbandry with financial support of the Centre and Technical guidance of National Institute of Camel Research, Bikaner has paved the way for growth in its population from mere 64 in 2004 to 298 in 2020. The Department is also running a farm for its research studies at Chushot in Leh. After successful conservation of the species, the department has started working on its wool to create income for the breeders during the off season of tourism. The Breeders through formation of Self Help Groups are encouraged to manufacture products from Camel wool.
Bactrian camels are a cultural heritage of historic silk route trade. They’re part of Nubra culture. Rhythmic ride on double humped camels on sand dunes is a memorable experience.